The Null Device


Someone has written a Linux kernel patch which allows it to use defective RAM modules. The patch finds damaged areas and marks them as unusable (not unlike bad sectors on hard disks), allowing the good ~99% of the module to be used, rather than leaching into the water table in a landfill. If this idea takes off, if Microsoft put it into Windows and RAM manufacturers start selling imperfect memory cheaply rather than trashing it, it could ease the environmental costs of computer manufacturing.


According to the Melbourne Times, the proprietor of a bondage/fetishwear shop in Brunswick St. has received letters from some reactionary, threatening them with violence and death if they do not close, and claiming to be connected to that sinister terrorist group, S11. Being good dreadlocked subversives, S11 have denied any connection with the abovementioned wowser, and have basically said that he probably needs to get laid more.


Good news on the emulation front; Plex86, which aims to become a free VMWare-like virtual-PC program for Linux, now boots Linux normally. Granted, Linux on Linux is not particularly impressive from a practical point of view, but it's a step to running Windows on Linux, not sacrificing having a real OS on the machine. Meanwhile, Windows emulator WINE allegedly runs Word/Excel 2000 on Linux. No Internet Exploiter though.

emulation linux plex86 software vmware windows wine 0

The latest in minimalist video gaming: a console that plays old ZX Spectrum games. The device attaches to a TV, has a controller modelled on the Nintendo 64's, contains 36 old games and will retail for £9.95 in the UK (which is around A$30). No idea what's inside it, but I'd bet on a Speccy-like device with custom firmware.

All in all, sounds like a clever idea; old games often have gameplay equal or superior to contemporary titles, and can be had cheap (or free, in the cases of some generous copyright holders). Wonder if it'll catch on.


A somewhat psychoceramic religious extremist group has seemingly not been too happy with the heathens poking fun at them, and has decided to fight back. The source of this page on the evils of teen pop bands contains this interesting JavaScript fragment:

var redirectto = "";
var refusedfrom = ""; // required prev. page
if (document.referrer.indexOf(refusedfrom) != -1) {
alert("Access ot this page is forbidden from Landover Baptist");

That really says a lot about fundamentalist psychology; in particular their favour of psychological impact and manipulation over reason.

abortion javascript landover baptist religiots 0

Finally, we move closer to getting rid of the insecure, fraud-ridden fiasco that is the credit card system; Visa are trialling a secure "e-wallet" system in Europe. Promisingly, this system doesn't require the user to use Windows and run a special client program, and thus can be accessed from all manner of devices. (via Ashtray)


Graham's mention of "supreme bootywhang" in blogging reminded me of an idea I had a while ago, which would apply that idea literally: an automatic weblog using genetic algorithms. The weblog engine would monitor several other blogs and, using a set of weights/rules/criteria, steal items from several blogs a day. Each item in a daily edition would be put there by a different chromosome from that pool; the daily hit count and/or a user rating mechanism à la BlogHop would assign accumulating fitness scores to the day's chromosomes. After each chromosome had been rated a number of times (to smooth out discontinuities and help ensure meaningful scores), the next generation would be produced, by randomly breeding the chromosomes, with each having a probability of breeding proportional to its fitness.

I don't quite have the time to code this right now (especially the link-stealing code), but if anyone wants to do it, let me know what you come up with.


In an act of high-tech chindogu, Japanese company Citizen have released a meta-PDA. Dubbed the Citizen Kids, it is an iMac-coloured plastic cartridge with a LCD screen which allows you to scroll through data downloaded from the larger PDA in case your Visor is still too bulky for your liking. Sounds a bit like a remote control for your remote control, doesn't it? Anyway, this site has some photos of it (as well as an article in French).